Raspberry-Lemon Basil Frozen Lemonade

We're not even half way through yet, and this has already been a summer to remember: ridiculously hot, dry as a bone, crazy storms, and did I mention triple digits? We've surpassed 100 degrees twice this month!  I've spent more time watering my gardens in the past month than I have doing anything else; I'm pretty sure I could do it in my sleep at this point. 
While some things in the garden are struggling with the heat and lack of rain, other things are having a remarkably good year. Take for example, the raspberries: never before has the early crop looked this good. The berries this month have been bigger, juicier, sweeter, and more plentiful than usual.  And then there is the basil: I could make a big batch of pesto every other day without missing a beat.  The stuff is growing like crazy!  
So what's a girl to do with an abundance of raspberries and basil on a hot summer day?  Make some frozen lemonade, of course!
There are only five ingredients and the process is quite easy (if you can juice a lemon and boil water, you're golden), though it does take several steps plus time to freeze.  Just plan ahead so you can be sure to have a glass to take out with you to the garden - it's the best way to enjoy it, of course!
Just a quick side note about the basil: I used some of my lemon basil for this recipe.  It has a milder basil flavor than regular sweet or genovese basil, and it has a discernible lemon essence to it that seemed like an obvious match for a lemonade.  If you don't have lemon basil, you can use regular basil; you just might want to use a little less of it, depending on your taste.  I left my muddled basil in the simple syrup, but if you're not a fan of having little flecks of basil in your drink, simply strain the syrup before adding to the lemonade mix.  
Raspberry-Lemon Basil Frozen Lemonade
4 cups raspberries
1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
10-12 lemon basil leaves

In a sauce pan, combine raspberries with 1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it) and cook over low heat until berries have broken down.  Strain the berries to remove the seeds (push as much pulp as you can through the strainer) and set the juice aside to cool.  

Rinse out the sauce pan and combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, and boil until all the sugar has been dissolved and remove from heat.  Muddle the basil leaves and add them to the simple syrup. 

After the juice and the simple syrup have had a chance to cool a bit, combine the raspberry and lemon juice with the simple syrup.  Taste for sweetness and adjust according to taste (note: the flavor will be slightly concentrated).  Transfer the lemonade mixture to a freezer safe container and freeze. 

When ready to serve, use an ice cream scoop to add a scoop or two of frozen lemonade mix to a glass.  Top off with a little sparkling water (or regular water, if you're not a fan) and stir until lemonade reaches a slushy consistency. Optional: make it a hard lemonade with your favorite liquor.  Serve immediately. 

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